Freshman Inquiry (FRINQ) forms the foundation for the University Studies program. This year-long sequence of courses introduces students to Portland State's general education goals and to the opportunities available in university life. FRINQ courses are interactive and theme-based, with each theme exploring topics and issues using an interdisciplinary approach to show how they can be understood from different perspectives.
Faculty members from various disciplines teach courses as a team. Each faculty member is paired with an upper division student, or peer mentor, who leads the smaller mentor inquiry sessions. Classes include lecture and group dialogue on course content, student-led discussions based on homework assignments, and creative opportunities to challenge and expand thinking.
The design of the course allows students to integrate their learning with their majors, their life and their community. Each student creates an electronic portfolio that provides them with a medium to reflect and make personal connections with the content and experiences of the course.
A crucial part of the Freshman Inquiry course is the mentored inquiry, where students work closely with a peer mentor to understand and apply material from the main class session, and develop skills in research, writing, communication, and computer technologies. The small size of mentored inquiry (12 students) creates a learning community where students are actively engaged in the intellectual development of both themselves and their peers.